Wednesday, November 13, 2013

American Comics Around the World: Turok, El Guerrero De Piedra

I never thought about the reprint market outside the United States, but within the last few years I discovered there were a lot of Turok, Son of Stone issues published in Latin America by one main publisher. England, Italy, and Germany attempted some minor reprints in the 1970s from the original Gold Key series, but only one or two issues ever saw print, with one company publishing nineteen books in their entire run. Editorial Novaro, based in Mexico City started their Turok, El Guerrero De Piedra series in 1969 and lasted a whopping 274 issues that I know of, over twice as long as the original Dell series! So what do you do when you run out of reprints? Start creating your own stories and covers adopting the customs and flavor of the publisher’s home country. Artist Francisco Betancourt did many of the colorful painted Turok covers in his bold style, often using direct or composite swipes from the Gold Key covers, while the interiors miserably failed to live up to the standards set by Alberto Giolitti. As well as the covers, art swipes from Frazetta, Boris, Kubert, Thorne, and many other American and European artists could be found inside these books. Columbia’s Epucol started their Turok series in 1976 lasting over 200+ issues, being a sister company with Novaro, they had the advantage of using many of the prior Mexican covers and stories, though they created wild new adventures too. Often a little bright at times when compared to American comics, these little digest gems  were extremely popular and sold a great number of copies. Published as two issues a month or more at the height of their popularity before their demise, Novaro’s printing presses were destroyed in the devastating Federal District earthquake of 1985 which finally closed the company and Turok’s long run south of the border.

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